Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) is one of the hottest topics in collision repair today, and is responsible for reducing the number of collisions (down 2.6% in 2018 according to CCC Information Services) and for creating confusion about plastic bumper repair. In June 2018, GM released a position statement saying that, “Any bumper/fascia equipped with ADAS that requires substrate repair must be replaced.” This blanket prohibition on repair—regardless of the location of the damage relative to the sensor—is more restrictive than similar position statements from other OEMs, which do allow some repair outside of a certain radius of the ADAS sensors.
Because ADAS is a new technology and because of these conflicting position statements by the manufacturers, it’s no surprise that shops have different opinions about plastic repair in general. Many technicians and shops that have a natural aversion to plastic repair are using this confusion as a reason to say, “We can’t repair bumper covers anymore.” But bumpers are not the only structures on a vehicle that are made of plastic, so even if a shop decides to never repair another bumper cover, there are still dozens of commonly damaged plastic components that can be easily repaired with a Polyvance Nitro-Fuzer nitrogen plastic welder.
Polyvance only recommends repair to non-structural plastic components—items that would not affect any of the vehicle’s crash energy management or safety systems. Examples of non-structural items include headlight mounting tabs, windshield washer bottles, radiator overflow bottles, radiator supports, inner fender liners, underbody fairings, air boxes, fuse boxes, rocker panel moldings, fender flares and plastic trim. Because of the increasing cost of modern headlights, headlight tabs offer the biggest opportunity for repair cost reduction.
Jason Ross of Colorwheels Northwest (Hillsboro, Ore.) cannot say enough about the benefits of plastic repair.
“I’ve staked my reputation on it,” Ross says.
“I’ll have it until the shop shuts down; the system is constructed well, it looks nice, it has a great cart, comes with a nice cover and everything is labeled. The system is well-constructed and well-built.”
Ross is now handling more plastic repair business than he ever thought possible, finding work on bumpers and other non-structural components he previously had to turn down or charge more to handle.
“You can save bumpers that would previously have been thrown away. It saves the insurance company. It saves the shop. It saves everyone. You have all this plastic floating around versus repairing and painting it.”
Ross has been in the collision repair business for over 20 years and believes the nitrogen welder from Polyvance is the future.
“It’s changed our game,” he says, “because we’ve been able to do repairs that in the past we had to scrap, purchase anew, and charge the client. The Nitro-Fuzer is beyond belief. If you’re working with plastics, even on a medium level, it’s a good investment. Used car reconditioning with dealerships is our main focus; we may charge an hour minimum for the repair itself but we can do it much more quickly. That’s easy money and money saved, and the insurance companies are willing to pay it. It’s an invaluable piece of equipment.”
Today, Ross enjoys a more robust business and loyal clients who know he can save their car from being totaled.
“It’s phenomenal,” he says, “it’s simply phenomenal.”
To learn more, check out bit.ly/PolyvanceWelding.
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